2016-08-03 / Editorials

Letters to the Editor

PS 335 Zoning

A copy of this letter was received at the
Queens Gazette.
July 20, 2016
New York City Department of Education
Office of District Planning
100 Gold Street, Room 3200
New York, NY 10038
Attention: Albery Melo, Queens Planning
Re: PS 335 Zoning

Dear Albery,

I hope this letter finds you well. I would like to take this opportunity to bring to your attention some concerns I share with my constituents of Ozone Park.

As you are aware, PS 335 is a new school scheduled to open in the fall of 2017 for Pre-K- 5th grade students. The CEC recently voted to keep this as a zoned school. I am hopeful that the Office of District Planning will respect the boundaries that the community recommended. These boundaries were established to include all students living east of Cross Bay Boulevard, to the railroad tracks/Aqueduct race track, and south of Rockaway Boulevard to North Conduit Avenue. We have census track numbers to show the need for an early childhood school here and feel strongly that that is what it should be.

I am hopeful that you will do what is best for this unique location and for this Centerville community, which has never had a local school.

Thank you for your time and attention to this matter. I look forward to your response. Sincerely,

Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr.
State Senator – 15th District

Honor The Office

To The Editor:

How elated I felt to hear Hillary Clinton’s acceptance speech. Finally, 100 years after women fought for and won the right to vote, a female is nominated and accepted the nomination for president of this land. Our nation is moving forward.

I just hope that the debates will not be bashing and mud-slinging and that the issues of how to make this nation the greatest one in the world will be discussed in a mature fashion.

We have the power of the ballot in November, so both candidates must behave.

I am glad that Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas hired interns to help her with her legislative work. This is a start for future political leaders, and the experience they get during the summer will help them achieve their goals.

I also am elated that signs about a hotline for child abuse will be posted in schools.

That is a step in the right direction.

I am honored to have my picture in the Gazette, along with Mr. Penner, with both of us holding the Gazette and discussing current events. The Gazette has been so wonderful to me, publishing my Letters to the Editor since the year 2000.

Cynthia Groopman
Little Neck

No Ticket To Ride

To The Editor:

Remember last January when all 14 members of the NYC Council’s Queens Delegation announced their collective support for the “Commuter Rail Fare Equalization Proposal?” It would allow NYC residents to pay the same $2.75 fare on the Long Island Rail Road or Metro North Rail Road as riding the New York City Transit Subway. It sounded great on paper, but look at the details. It could also offer the same riders a free transfer from either the LIRR or Metro-North to the NYC Transit Subway. The bill introduced by Councilman Daneek Miller and supported by NYC Transportation Committee Chair Ydanis Rodriguez, along with all 14 Queens Councilmembers clearly illustrated their lack of understanding concerning how transportation works. Do NYC Councilmembers and others promoting this bill have a MetroCard, or ride any public transportation systems like constituents do on a daily basis?

Those NYC residents who already utilize either the LIRR, Metro-North, MTA buses or NYC Transit Express Bus are aware the cost is more than either the bus or subway. If you agree and follow the logic of this bill, there should be a reduction in the cost of any NYCT or MTA Express Bus Service from $6.50 to $2.75 as well. There are already almost 100,000 NYC residents who travel weekdays to and from work, paying extra to ride the LIRR, Metro-North, MTA Express Bus, NYC Transit Express Bus or private ferry. All understand that they are paying for a premium service.

We are all already aware of what happens due to equipment malfunction, inclement weather, switching or crossing gate problems on the LIRR. Don’t forget the increase in the frequency of major service disruptions due to storm and signal problems in the East River Tunnels. These problems periodically also occur between the Tunnel Portals and Harold Interlockings west of the Woodside Station. This results in canceled and combined trains. People are packed standing in the aisles. There is no way for conductors to check tickets. Train trips take longer, as more time is needed at each Queens station for riders to enter and exit. At Penn Station, it could take five to ten minutes before everyone can depart the train. Can you imagine the chaos with thousands of additional daily riders?

There is no room to run additional trains in or out of Penn Station during either a.m. or p.m. rush hours via the East River tunnels with connections to Long Island. Three of four tunnels running inbound during a.m. and outbound p.m. rush hours have very tight spacing between trains. One tunnel is shared by the LIRR, New Jersey Transit and Amtrak for reverse train movements with equally tight spacing during rush hours. There is no platform capacity at Penn Station to accommodate any additional trains during rush hour. Penn Station is currently operating at 100% capacity during both a.m. and p.m. rush hours. If one of the four tunnels is temporarily out of service, the result is numerous delays and cancellation of trains. Nothing will change until Eastside Access to Grand Central Terminal is open for revenue service. The anticipated revenue service date has slipped on numerous occasions from originally 2011. The MTA “party line” schedule claim (based upon the most recent project recovery which has also changed numerous times during the life of the project) calls for a December 2022 opening day. Based upon the previous history of delays and recovery schedules adding up to 11 years worth of broken promises, don’t be surprised if first day of revenue service occurs in 2023, 2024, or later.

The bill also wants to offer new NYC LIRR and MNRR riders a free transfer to the NYC Transit Subway. Obviously these NYC Councilmembers have never traveled through either Grand Central Terminal or Penn Station during rush hours. Both the east side 4, 5 and 6 subway lines or west side 1, 2 and 3 subway lines are already operating at or above capacity. Many must wait for a second subway train to arrive before being able to board. The same is true to a lesser extent for Atlantic Avenue Brooklyn Station travelers attempting to access subway lines. There is little room for new riders who might want to take advantage of a free commuter rail to subway transfer. If offered, there are thousands of NYC residents already riding the LIRR and Metro-North who would also want the same free transfer.

The $70 million dollar estimated cost for a $2.75 fare for all trips for residents within NYC riding on both the LIRR and Metro- North is just a guess. It was not based upon any concrete data. Nobody knows if the cost could easily be $100 to $200 million or even more in direct farebox revenue loses for the LIRR, Metro-North and NYC Transit. The $27 billion MTA 2015-2019 Five Year Capital Program includes no funding to implement this proposal. The MTA has no surplus operating dollars available to cover these costs. The $82 billion NYC municipal budget for the period July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017 likewise includes no funding. As a result, NYC two-fare zone riders still don’t have a “Freedom Ticket” to ride.

Larry Penner
Great Neck

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